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All year long, I will be drinking one beer a day -- no more, no less -- with no repeats. Join the discussion and help me discover and share new beer!

Harpoon IPA

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I am sipping today’s beer as I write this, and it’s only fitting that I start this challenge with Harpoon IPA.

Before drinking my first Harpoon IPA, I didn’t much care for India Pale Ales.

To tell the truth, I wasn’t a fan of hoppy beer at all. The bitterness was just too much for me. harpoon ipaAvoiding pale ales, and IPAs in particular, was my secret shame for years. You see, loving beer but hating a strong hoppy brew is almost unheard of — like an optimist who grumbles about Christmas.

In 2003, I moved from Chicago to Boston. I sat down at an Irish pub the day I signed my lease and asked the bartender for something local.

“Just not Sam Adams,” I said. You can get Sam Adams in Chicago.

What he gave me was a Harpoon IPA. I held back my grimace — I’d heard stories about Boston bartenders, so I wasn’t about to send it back.

Harpoon IPA surprised me. Sure, there’s a fair amount of hoppiness to this beer. But it dissipates into maltiness, melting across your tongue and leaving just the mildest aftertaste. The hops don’t attack your taste buds, so you get to enjoy the bit of citrus-peel bitterness without reeling from it. Yet, there’s no doubt you’re drinking an IPA.

Harpoon became my gateway drug into the world of IPA, and I started to seek out hoppy beer. No more shame for this beer drinker — I became a certified hop head.

Even with all the great IPAs I’ve found, Harpoon’s brew has been my favorite. It’s what I ask for by default when I sit down at a bar or order from a restaurant menu. In fact, I had a few glasses of Harpoon IPA before the New Year’s Eve champagne came out last night. For my last night of beer drinking freedom, I chose Harpoon IPA.

Now I’m realizing that by drinking Harpoon IPA at the start of this challenge, I’m not going to have another Harpoon IPA for a full year.

I have one more sip left.

I’m going to miss it when it’s gone.

But this journey is just getting started, and I’ll discover some great beer along the way. So, cheers to you for joining me on this adventure. MMmmm… That’s a good beer!

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Categories : Beer a Day



I’ll have to put together a few NW beer care packages for you this year. Too bad so many of my favorite beers here are available on tap only, and I don’t think the to-go mason jars will ship very well. There’s still plenty of beers from the locals out here that I know you can’t get out there, I’ll see if I can make your beer a day challenge a little more interesting.


i heart IPA’s, and stouts, and porters, and pretty much any beer, especially if it’s free


Let me start by saying that I don’t think you have a snowballs chance in Hell of keeping up. Sure it is just one beer, but the attention span of the modern male is just too short for something that requires this sort of constitution. Regardless, I wish you luck and success.

In keeping with your theme of beers you don’t like moving to the top of your list might I suggest Goose Island’s 312. I generally don’t like wheat beers, particularly unfiltered wheats, but like all good blondes 312 has a creamy, voluminous body that is detectable on all regions of your tongue.


Good choice for your first beer. You turned me on to the Harpoon IPA when I was last in Boston. It sucks that you can’t have another for a whole year.


wow, one beer a day………………..I don’t think I could just do one beer a day, it would probably be more like two or three. Of course, that could be why we don’t keep a good supply of beer in our house. That and a 2 year old. :-) I will have to keep up and see how you are doing! Oh yeah, what’s your wife think? Is she joining in on this quest?


Fell in love with the Harpoon IPA when I was working on DC’s K street. Oftentimes after a long workday, I’d jaywalk straight across the street to Legal Seafoods (another Boston Export), belly up to the bar and order a tall frosty imperial pint, watch the news with my fellow midnight oil burners and bitch about Bush. Way to ring in the new year with a strong brew.

If your still wondering about your IPA legs, I would suggest Stone’s IPA or any other Westcoast brew, like Pizza Port or Thirsty Bear. Locally, in Chicago, the Doggy style IPA from Three Floyds will put hair on your Hops fearin’ chest.


The only pint-sized problem I forsee is deciding how many beers to consume in each hoptastic flavor category and the order in which to consume them. Do you, for example, imagining sticking with a genre for a number of days as a way of comparing like types or do you hope to HOP(s) around and describe the journey as a more indirect darting between drafts? No matter the answer, I look forward to the 365 rounds.


I miss harpoon IPA. In my younger years, when I lived out east I learned to love IPA’s from drinking Harpoon. It sounds like your experience was similar.


Now I’ll have to try Harpoon. I never liked the hoppiness either until a friend turned me on to the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. Definitely a good one to add to your list.

Good luck with your adventure.


Hi Everyone — thanks for the comments and questions. GREAT beer suggestions. MA has some archaic beer laws, so I’ll have to do some research before I can invite anyone to mail me specific beers.

I am going to set up a “Sponsor a Beer” link soon, more on that in time.

Travis, I’m a HUGE Dogfish Head fan. I have the 60 min and 90 min in my stock, still need to grab a 120 min IPA. Plus a few more Dogfish Head brews — glad you hear you are a Dogfish Head fan!

Marc, I have the Stone IPA, but will have to research the others.

Bruce, I’ve had the Goose Island before, but all I can find out here are the root beers. Will keep my eyes peeled!

Molly — are you saying your two year old is drinking all your beer? I like the cut of that kid’s jib!

Aimee — your questions will all be answered, stay tuned. I’ll write some posts about the drinking plan.

This should be fun. So far, I haven’t missed not being able to have more than one beer. But I’ve got a couple of vacations coming up, and that will certainly make things difficult.


[...] holds a special place in my beer drinking heart, as I explained in my very first entry. So despite the atrocity inflicted upon my taste buds by the Harpoon Chocolate Stout, I believe [...]

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